Blog Entry

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:40 pm

By Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets announced Thursday that center Brook Lopez has a broken foot and will undergo surgery. His listed recovery time is 4-6 weeks, but the injury is also similar to the one that sidelined Mavs' guard Roddy Beaubois for months and which says doctors have said can take up to 4 months to heal. 

So no, this is not good news.

But as bad as it is for Lopez, it also has huge ramifications for the Nets and their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Lopez was the centerpiece of any trade to Orlando, giving the Magic a young center to at least take the sting off losing the league's best big man. At 4-6 weeks, there's time for Lopez to recover and get back on the floor to show himself still worth the Magic's investment (I'm sure that's No.1 on his list of priorities). But that assumes his surgery goes perfectly, his recovery is without flaw, and that his return has no issues.

At that point, the Nets may be one of the worst teams in the league. Howard will be staring at going to a team he'd have to claw out of the cellar alongside Deron Williams with, after having had to likely give up even more assets to account for the instability of Lopez' situation. While Howard would be looking at the big picture with regards to playing in Brooklyn the next six seasons, these superstars want to win now, every year, and don't want to risk missing the playoffs even a single season. The Magic would be then trading for a seven-foot center with a foot injury, which hasn't gone well in the history of the NBA. That damages the Nets' leverage in the package they'd have to give up, which would mean Howard would be giving his commitment to a team with nearly nothing on roster outside of Deron Williams.

Which isn't wholly different from what Carmelo Anthony did. But the Knicks were at least in playoff position at the time of the trade. Without Lopez, we see more of Johan Petro. The Nets' frontcourt, even with productive big man Kris Humphries, is going to be a near-disaster. Deron Williams is one of the top five point guards in the league, but there are limits to what even he can do.

Lopez meanwhile is faced with the balance of wanting to compete and do his job, wanting to get back on the floor as quickly as possible, and leveraging that against his long-term health. Throw in how the Nets have treated him for the past year, both in terms of his relationship with Avery Johnson and in his inecessant involvement in trade rumors, and Lopez will be rushing back from a serious injury to help a team that is clearly not invested in his future. Maybe he pushes himself just to get out of the situation, but it's not an unpleasant one, and that's before you deal with the mental and physical damage from undergoing this kind of injury process.

The Nets still have a chance at pulling off the trade which would set them up long-term in the future. But after making a huge gamble in trading for Deron Williams last season and surrendering nearly half their talent base, the Lopez injury makes the odds even worse. There's really only two ways this works out. The Nets pull of a miracle trade for Dwight Howard because he simply wants to play in Brooklyn that much, or they lose everything.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum looked spectacular in preseason play Wednesday night.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:14 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Its looking more and more like the Chicago Bulls should be the fav destination for Dwight.  That is, if he wants to win a NBA championship anytime soon. 

Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Injury does not put the deal in jeapardy.  It probably does in terms of getting it done by the trade deadline.  But Orlando still has the sign n trade option that would allow the to find a best deal and help Howard out by getting his max money.  Remember, Clev didn't exactly get nothing for Lebron.  It got a trade exception, but Gilbert chose to blow up the team instread.

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:51 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

NJ is out ... no way Howard wants into that mess.

LA .. laughable.   They'd have to give up Bynum AND Gasol .. cuz noone is going to trade straight up for Bynum and his injury risk.   And LA may have to pay some of Gasol's salary in that scenario too.   Add in Kobe breaking down, getting older, and being past his prime, LA shouldn't even be on Howard's radar.

If Howard wants to succed, he needs to go to a team with a premium PG .... Oh wait, maybe LA is the answer ... only the Clippers.  He would end up pairing with Paul and Griffin and that would be LEATHAL  ... and the Clips have a good young center to offer to make it happen too in DeAndre Jordan ... put him in a package and they seem to have what it would take to get it done and put Howard on an instant contender.  Now THAT would be something.


Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:29 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Lakers still need to give up Bynum and Gasol.  Especially with Kobe injured, they will be pretty bad early on.  

I just don't think they can give them both up, especially if Kobe does miss any extended time.  Do you really think a line up of Howard-McRoberts-Barnes-Kapono-Fish

er is going to win many games.  Even when Kobe comes back, the drop off from Gasol to McRoberts at PF is huge, not to mention the depth issue.  If they want Howard, the Lakers will give up Bynum asm he'd go to the bench anyway but they need to find something/someone else to include in the package than Gasol.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:24 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

I think that unless there is a third team involved that provides a legit big-man, if the Lakers want Howard they are going to have to include Pau Gasol or Bynum in the trade, but hopefully not both.  The Magic are not going to be willing to come out of the deal without a center.  Bynum is more of a true center and, because of age, has a lot more upside left than Pau--but if its just Bynum--what do you put with him to make the trade appealing to Orlando?  The Lakers have an $8.9million trade exception to go with Bynum, but what else that Orlando would really want?

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:23 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Daniel Orton, Justin Harper, Jameer Nelson, and JJ Redick (huge Duke base in Brooklyn) would look great in Nets uniforms Wink

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:20 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Lakers still need to give up Bynum and Gasol.  Especially with Kobe injured, they will be pretty bad early on.  

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:58 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Ah, finally, the Lakers catch a little break...not sure they necessarily have to include Pau as a "throw-in" anymore in order to make that deal for Dwight.  Ball is in your court now Otis Smith!

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